What can brands and marketers learn from Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies)?

Bitcoin farm

Bitcoin bubble is ripe to pop. Every bubble is based on customer belief that the purchased product’s worth will dramatically grow. This extreme enthusiasm is feed by enormous amounts of content. The closer the crash is, the more content there is selling the belief. Every brand would be happy to have even a small share of such customer obsession.

What can brands and marketers learn from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Bitcoin created a new market
Bitcoin did not enter in direct competition with current investment opportunities but motivated customers who were not considering investment to invest. These are young tech oriented customers, both rich and not rich. Brands should avoid motivating existing customers to choose them over a competitor and focus on creating new markets and categories by finding completely new customers.

Bitcoin is anti-institutional
Bitcoin customers do not trust the institutional financial system. Bitcoin offers them something to do outside these institutions. Their decision to mine or purchase Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is motivated by the rebellious need to be part of shaking up the status quo. No one wants to see that the society hierarchy remains the same and Bitcoin appears to be a key to this. Brands can benefit from positioning themselves with products, content, and business models as a new and independent method of achieving goals. Innovative business models are especially effective.

Bitcoin is new
The most effective word in positioning is “new”. Opposite of “new” is simply “old”. There is no middle. Bitcoin is a new concept and this is appealing to customers who are hungry for a change. New represents the change in status quo to which all customers react positively. “New” is different from innovation because innovation does not guarantee a change in status quo and a change in customer’s life. Brands must always strive to reposition themselves as “new” as much as possible. As soon as someone else is “new” they will become “old”.

Brands can reposition themselves in new markets, as anti-institutional, and as “new” using following methods:
1) Designing a new product which do not need to be the biggest seller, but serves only to reposition the brand;
2) Producing product which changes the perception of current products by adding new soft values;
3) Creating new business models which sell current products.

Suggested links:
Scott Galloway comments on Bitcoin.
Nouriel Roubini on Bitcoin bubble for Bloomberg.